First of all Some Questions that you should ask yourself to build a Project
Why do I want to build this?
Does it solve a particular problem or need?
Would it be practical enough to be used in Pakistan?
Would it be practically usable?
You will notice that in the question list, we haven’t listed down a single technical question or challenge. When you work on idea, you usually build a prototype first to prove your point that the idea is possible.
The second part of your question is more general as to what kind of final year project should you be working on. The answer that we are giving you is the discussion that we have with our students.
Research based versus non-research based projects
There are 2 kinds of projects. Research based and non-research based. At under graduate level most students go for non-research based projects which are mostly practical in nature. Those who are interested in research based projects are usually who plan to go for a Masters degree by research or a PhD later. So the first question that you should ask yourself is what excites you? Doing research which involves reading research papers, understanding analyzing and implementing them and coming up with your own improved techniques or algorithms in a particular area. Or building a project which involves less research and more practical stuff like understanding new programming libraries or algorithms and implementing them to solve a problem.
Choosing the right supervisor
Once you decide for a particular area you must select a supervisor who most suits your project and your area. For example if you want to do a research based project, find a supervisor with a PhD. If you want to do a more practical project find a supervisor who has worked in the industry or has worked on practical projects.
Funding your project
One of the most important aspects that you must consider before going for your idea is to figure out how you are going to finance your project. There are many ways to fund your project.
National ICT R&D fund runs a program (http://www.ictrdf.org.pk/ngiri/main1.htm) where they finance innovative FYP ideas, mostly for buying hardware. You can get up to Rs 65000 in funding. Usually the fund takes a long time to release funds so be prepared to spend from your own pocket initially if you plan to take this route.
Another way is to find someone willing to fund your idea. There are several companies in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi willing to work with Final Year Projects. The key is to find a company that works in your area of domain and would be willing to work with you. A good idea is to find someone from the faculty who knows people in a company you are looking for. Most faculty members have friends and colleagues working in local companies.
The third way is to fund your project yourself. Be careful though, most universities usually only allow a maximum of three students per group.
Finding the right idea
One of the key questions is to understand what kind of idea you can work on. Final year project is one of the most important activities in your undergraduate studies that can define your future direction. So the decision should be taken very wisely. If you plan to go for a Masters degree and are good at reading papers then find a research based project. If you plan to work for a company even then you can do a research project or vice versa. There is no fix path.
When students come to us and ask for advice regarding projects, we usually tell them to find a problem to solve or a need to fulfill. So how does one go about finding a problem? We have devised a top down approach to finding the right problem to solve.
The key is to think big! Ask yourself what kind of problem can I solve in the universe? Can I create an algorithm to enable fully autonomous operation of the Mars Rover? If you think that is too farfetched then narrow down your search. Think of what global problem can you solve. Have you ever looked at United Nation’s Millennium Goals that address global issues? There are many competitions as well (ITU Young Innovator’s Program) that encourage one to solve global problems using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). If you still can’t find a problem then look for a local problem to solve. Think of the problems that face Pakistan today. Poverty, lack of education, lack of health facilities, etc there are practically thousands of problems to solve. So choosing to solve one can benefit everyone. Finally if you still haven’t found a problem to solve then look around you? Can you find problems where you live or on your university campus? Can you automate a certain process that could make life easier for students? For example every university has a tedious clearance process through which each student has to go through once he/she graduates wasting everyone’s time and energy! Can you somehow automate this problem? There are once again plenty more to solve.
Finally one way to find ideas is to read, read and read a lot. Read about things that interest you and you’ll surely get ideas for your final year project. And once you find an idea, then discuss it with your peers, your faculty and even your parents. Feedback helps refine ideas and everyone will give their own perspective which will help in improving your idea!
Good luck in finding the right idea for your final year project. Feel free to Contact with us if you have further questions.